Research: Employees putting corporate data at risk

Survey of NetworkWorld's technology opinion panel points to gaps in corporate IT security


Only one of out of every 100 employees consistently follows corporate data and security policies. That's the dismal number realized from a survey of NetworkWorld's Technology Opinion Panel that was underwritten by computer theft recovery company Absolute Software.

The survey, using researchers from Research Concepts, asked the panel's 185 members about computer security and data security, and while those topics are priorities, it's clear that security goals have not been altogether effective.

Some highlights among the results:

- 27 percent of companies report data breaches
- 55 percent of companies have experienced a laptop theft
- 33 percent of IT managers think data breaches and computer thefts have gone undetected in their companies
- Average estimated cost of a data breach: $137,000.

The study also inquired as to what and who would be at risk in the case of a corporate data breach. The results were notable: 20 percent of breaches involve customer information; 20 percent involve employee information; 20 percent involve Social Security numbers and/or credit card information.

The potential for breaches seems to rest on a core problem within the world of IT security. While 81 percent of organizations who were surveyed said that computer and data security was a high priority, only 53 percent of the companies surveyed even had policies about the transportation of sensitive data, and only 42 percent had mobile computer data security policies. Even more, the study found that IT managers believe that only 1 of every 100 employees (1 percent) consistently adhere to the corporate and data security policies that are in place.